The month of October is my favorite. Maybe it’s the way the rust-colored leaves smell of spice and earth or the feeling of change in the air…but it always makes me feel more alive. Like we’re on the edge of something more than just winter. There’s something about being in the heart of autumn that makes me feel like anything is possible…

And this October anything was possible.

For example, I got head lice.

And before this month, before this Anything-Is-Possible-In-October month, I would have told you that contracting lice at 24 years- old was completely NOT possible. I never even had lice as a kid! But as an adult I decided to get lice from some younglings at church that I let wear my new hat. Just trying to fill in the gaps of my childhood experience. Un-freaking-believable.

I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen my head, but I have a lot of hair. Sort of like a lion. Like an Amazon woman lion. It’s basically a time-share dream vacation home for lice. Yes, to quote Mean Girls, my hair was quite literally full of secrets.

Like anyone who has had to face the fact that they have bugs living in their hair, I went through the over-dramatic stages of grief and denial. And I called my mom in Ohio. Like a lot. And I briefly considered whether I would survive sticking my head in a microwave oven. Oh, and I made random people check my head, including a sweet lady who does our accounting at work.

Between washing my sheets 700 times and looking like a serial killer by putting everything I own in black rubbish bags in my garage, I debated if this was one of life’s little details I would allow to go unwritten about. I mean…head lice? Gross. The stigma, oh the stigma. And yet it took up so much of my life I felt as if I couldn’t not write about it…

As this month dragged on, I realized that getting rid of head lice pretty much capsizes your schedule for about two weeks (though the paranoia lingers for much longer). My church work suffered during one of the busiest months of the year. My writing took a hit. Relationships were strained. Emails and texts went unanswered. Projects slipped through the cracks. My stress was so tangible I could practically eat it with a spoon.

And then I got bronchitis.

Every day I gutted it out, did what had to be done, and at night fell into bed and invited myself to a personal pity party. Why was this happening to me? How was this MY life? I didn’t have time for this. I didn’t even have family within driving distance to help me out. I had BUGS living in my hair and a cough that could wake the dead. I was uncomfortable and it didn’t seem fair.

That’s when it hit me…who said that life would be comfortable? Nothing in the Bible pointed to that conclusion.  Jesus’ disciples left their families, their homes, jobs, everything, to live a nomadic lifestyle and preach to people that often threw rocks at them. I mean, it’s not in the Bible, but we can all safely assume that a few of them had lice too (which probably means that those of us who have had lice are more spiritual….kidding, kidding!)

So when did I start making MY comfort the end goal? When did I start believing that I am entitled to a hiccup-free life? When did I start believing that life’s inconveniences or problems meant I must not be doing a good job or meant I was somehow less worthy?

Life happens. And sometimes it is hectic, messy, busy, and a little bit dirty. Don’t let that make you quit or turn back. Unfortunate circumstances are not punishment and they are not a catalyst to point out your failures. However, they can be distractions to pull your focus away from serving and loving others or from the task God has laid before you.

I spent a lot of time being internally focused this month. I gave my time and energy to others, but begrudgingly. I focused on getting myself back to a place where I felt comfortable instead of trying to lean on God in discomfort. And though I am not saying I should have left the bugs in my hair, I am saying that I put my faith in ME to get myself through… and as a result I completely stressed myself out.

When I look at Jesus’ life I don’t see much comfort. From a birth in a smelly barn (where there were probably lice) to death on a cross, Jesus lived an unglamorous life that by any day’s standards seems unnecessarily uncomfortable. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus voluntarily goes into the wilderness for 40 days where he eats and drinks nothing. He is in fact tempted and tried by Satan during this time from every angle, in addition to being stripped of all creature comforts.

I would have broken down, cried for my mom, and probably asked, “Why meeeeee?!?” several thousand times. In fact, I know I would have because that’s what I did this past month. But I think what we miss, what I missed, is the way Jesus combated those emotions and the temptation to quit was through scripture and prayer.

If Jesus didn’t do it on His own…why do we think that we can? No, life has not been set up to be comfortable the whole way through. We’ll get that in Heaven. But life was also not set up for us to do deal with discomfort alone. That’s why we were given the Bible, that’s why we have direct connection with God through prayer.

Life WILL be uncomfortable sometimes. Do not flee from it. Jesus lived in discomfort, so I suppose it’s okay to let life get messy sometimes. It is often in the discomfort that we lean on God most heavily and grow exponentially. It is in discomfort that we are refined and build empathy and passion for others in dismal situations. Jesus subjected Himself to discomfort on a regular basis. And if He hadn’t…we wouldn’t be saved from eternal separation from God. Perhaps we need to stop assuming we are entitled to comfort and start assuming sometimes life won’t be comfortable if we are to serve and love others as Christ did.

Your lice has a purpose (pun intended). Ask your Creator what it is. Ask what it is He is trying to teach you during this season of discomfort…no matter how small or large the problem may seem. He is with you both in comfort and discomfort.

Coleen York

Coleen York is the founder and editor of She Has Worth. She works as a freelance copywriter and editor, so feel free to hire her so she has employment. Additionally, she enjoys being outside, traveling, dinosaurs, art, Oreos, slurpees, and coffee (but not all together, that would probably be gross). Read more about Coleen in the "Our Team" section of She Has Worth.

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